Staff Profile of Professor Vian Bakir

Professor Vian Bakir
Professor of Political Communication & Journalism
+44 (0) 1248 382751
Office 14 (back of the building), John Philips Building

Personal web page


Reflections on Glass

Twitter: @VianBakir1

Current Administrative Responsibilities:

Teaching and Supervision


Undergraduate modules taught:

  • History of Journalism and the Public Sphere
  • Journalism and Risk
  • Global News Agenda
  • Digital Journalism
  • Dissertation in Journalism & Media Studies

PhD and MRes students:

Current (1st supervisor)

  • Aliah Nur Mansor: PhD: Online Fan Communities and Information Marketing Strategy of Japanese Popular Music: A Case of Johnny’s & Associates.
  • Michela Cortese:PhD: Defying the role of films in the visual communication of environmental risks: A visual analysis and practice-based research images and visual frames in environmental film productions on Climate Change
  • Xin Zhao: PhD: China-related economic responsibilities: Understanding China’s soft power projection through a critical discourse analysis of its transnational media institutions
  • Seth Sayibu Mahama: PhD: Propaganda, Censorship and the Media; an Ethnographic Study of Ghana Dagbon Chieftaincy Crisis since 2002

Current: (2nd  supervisor)

  • Amaal Ali Al- Nasher: PhD: The Portrayal of The Arab Spring in online Printed Media: A Critical Discourse Analysis Study
  • Haider Hussein Katea: PhD:  A Pragmatic Analysis of Persuasion in Political Language. “Presidential Speeches in confronting terrorism”
  • Bryn Moore: MRes. UK Military Recruitment and Promotional Material.


  • Dr. Kingsley Edafienene (University of Glamorgan). PhD: Media Exposure, Policy Agenda-Setting And Risk Communication In Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Dr. Jim Campbell (University of Glamorgan). PhD: Courting Media Support for War: A Comparative Analysis of UK Government Media Agenda-building During the Suez 1956 and Iraq (2003) Conflicts
  • Dyfrig Jones (Bangor University). PhD: Understanding the Foundation Years: The historical roots of American Public Broadcasting, 1922 to 1954.

Teaching Awards:

  • 2008. Excellence in Teaching Practice. University-wide award from University of Glamorgan’s Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) (for innovative e-learning).
  • 2008. Excellence in Academic Leadership in Learning and Teaching. University of Glamorgan’s faculty-wide CELT award (for integration of own research in teaching).

Text Books:

  • Bakir, V. in press, 2017. Civil Society and Political-Intelligence Elites: From Manipulation to Public Accountability. In Tumber, H. & Waisbord, S. (eds) Routledge Companion to Media & Human Rights. Routledge.
  • Bakir, V. 2016. News Media and the Intelligence Community. In R. Fröhlich et al. (eds.)  Routledge Handbook of Media, Conflict & Security. Routledge, pp. 243-254.
  • Miller, D., Robinson, P. and Bakir, V. 2016. Propaganda and Persuasion in Contemporary Conflict. In R. Fröhlich et al. (eds.)  Routledge Handbook of Media, Conflict & Security. Routledge, pp. 308-320.

Impact and Public Engagement (selected)

- Apr 2017. Invited Speaker: House of Commons, London. Fake News & Digital Advertising. Branded Content Network (AHRC-funded). (Public Talk). I presented on the fake news phenomenon as part of an invited panel. It received media coverage from trade press:

- Mar 2017: UK Parliament  Fake News Inquiry submissions. I was lead author of two submissions to the Fake News Parliamentary Inquiry for Dept. of Culture, Sport and Media. Both provide practical recommendations to counter the fake news phenomenon.
- With A. McStay (Bangor Univ.) Fake News: Media Economics and Emotional Button-Pushing.
- With P.Robinson (Univ. of Sheffield), D.Miller (Univ. of Bath) and C. Simpson (American Univ.): Fake News: A Framework for Detecting and Avoiding Propaganda.

- Feb 2017: Public talk at Veillance art exhibition, Pontio Arts & Innovation Centre (24 Feb – Opening night). Public talk on the importance of art in public education on complex, abstract issues like data surveillance; and why the public needs to understand these issues.

- 2015-2017: DATA-PSST activities. Generated a documentary for DATA-PSST, ESRC Seminar Series, to help rebuild the public agenda on the most important issues arising from discussions with inter-disciplinary academics and end users (with documentary-maker Dyfrig Jones). Produced 7 policy briefs, and reports on public feeling on surveillance and privacy.

- Dec 2016. Interviewed for al-Jazeera English to comment on national security and surveillance laws.

- Oct 2016. Published in Open Democracy about the problems with secret research that informs security policy.

- Oct 2016. Independently evaluated NGO Cage’s  report on the secret research base underpinning Channel’s ERG22+ (extremist risk guidelines).

- Invited Panelist on Journalism in post-Snowden era. Eurovision’s 10th News Assembly, European Broadcast Union (EBU), Berlin, 26-27 Oct 2015. Moderated by Alan Pearce (Journalist and Author of Deep web for journalists), this panel comprised Marcel Rosenbach (Journalist, Der Spiegel), Evan Light (FRQSC Postdoctoral Fellow, Mobile Media Lab, Toronto) and Annie Machon (former MI5 intelligence officer). The News Assembly brings together over 150 Head of News and Editors-in-Chief from more than 60 TV and Radio Member stations in Europe. The EBU is the largest association of broadcasters in the world, with a potential audience of 1.02 billion.

- 2015- : Information Commissioner’s Office, advisor/network member for Policy Delivery department.

- Sep 2015: Academic consultant for the Emwazi External Review (Sep 2015). SOAS, University of London.  This discussed advocacy group CAGE’s reaction to media coverage of ‘Jihadi John’ and intelligence agencies.

- Jan 2015: Introduction and Q&A at Caernarfon Arts Gallery for CitizenFour, Laura Poitras’ (2014) documentary on national security whistle-blower Edward Snowden. With Andrew McStay, this involved a pre-screening talk on the national security whistle-blowers and media representations, and the importance of privacy, followed by Q&A afterwards.

- Jan 2015: Published commentary in Spinwatch on US Senate Intelligence Committee’s Report into CIA torture during the Bush administration.

- 2006: Risk and Trust in a Citizens’ Jury: Co-convened (with Prof.M.Longley, Welsh Institute for Health & Social Care, & A. McStay) a 4-day Citizens Jury on Risk, Trust & Preventative Medicine (aspirin). Cardiff. Funder: Pfizer (£47,000). 15 citizens from a wide socio-demographic heard expert testimonies from scientist, doctors, regulators and patients on the risks and benefits of aspirin as a preventative medicine against heart attacks and strokes. We produced a policy report.


I research the interplay between journalism, and political communication across four broad areas:

  • National and international agenda-building struggles conducted via the media;
  • Issues of trust, accuracy and credibility in journalism;
  • How professional persuaders use emerging journalistic/media forms to influence publics;
  • The security state and public accountability.


strategic political communication, journalism, civil society, sur/sous/veillance, social resistance, agenda-building, trust, intelligence agencies, human rights, risk communication, propaganda, persuasion, War in Iraq (2002-09), War on Terror (2001-), fake news.

Research awards (major):

2016-17: ESRC Bangor University Impact Accelerator Award onPolitical-Intelligence Elites and Public Accountability. £13,500. Principle Investigator. This investigates how civil society (the press/NGOs) can better hold political-intelligence elites publically to account. It aims to co-create a benchmark of public accountability demands.

2016-17: £50,000. The Space. Veillance. (Academic partner). This inter-disciplinary, theory-practice art installation, (Feb-Mar. 2017, Pontio Arts & Innovation Centre, Bangor) raises awareness of citizens’ inadvertent data flows from their smart devices.  It makes visible and tangible both state and commercial surveillance of people’s data flows, on connecting to the art installation’s wifi via their smart device. It also highlights ‘sousveillance’ (peer to peer watching), as people witness what others in the exhibit are browsing, where key words are projected onto the room’s four walls. The inter-disciplinary team included myself (my work on ‘veillance’ post-Snowden), Andrew McStay’s work on privacy, Gillian Jein’s work on artistic practices in cities, ethical hackers, sound engineers and visualisers, all orchestrated by Ronan Devlin (Pontio designer in residence).

- 2014-17. ESRC Seminar Series. DATA-PSST! - Debating Alternative Transparency Arrangements - Privacy, Security, Surveillance, Trust. £30,000. Principle Investigator: Vian Bakir. Co-Is: Andrew McStay, Bangor Univ., Martina Feilzer, Bangor Univ., Dyfrig Jones, Bangor Univ., Yvonne McDermott-Rees, Bangor Univ, Paul Lashmar, Sussex Univ., Claire Birchall, Kings College London, Madeline Carr, Cardiff Univ., Claudia Hillebrand, Cardiff Univ., Emma Briant, Sheffield Univ., Ross Bellaby, Sheffield Univ.

In 2013, National Security Agency whistle-blower, Edward Snowden revealed a societal transparency arrangement: where state surveillance had infiltrated the fabric of everyday digital communications, piggy-backing on commercial communications platforms that we all use; and where it had done so secretly from the public, most politicians, and to some extent, the commercial telecommunications platform. Simultaneously, commercial surveillance from marketers and advertisers was becoming finer-grained, better targeted and ubiquitous. Moreover, the general public was increasingly ‘sousveilling’ and sharing this, e.g. through wearable devices monitoring movement and heart rates, through selfie-culture, and through a massive rise in social media postings. Concerned about this net rise in mutual watching, DATA-PSST aimed to:

  • Examine different aspects of transparency, especially how these affect privacy, security, sur/sous/veillance and trust.
  • Explore what different academic disciplines and real world actors, from data regulators to data activists, think of existing and desirable transparency arrangements.
  • Build a typology of transparency types.
  • Intervene in public debate about transparency arrangements.

- 2015. Arts Council Wales. Veillance. £25,000. Co-Investigator. This enabled the first iteration of an inter-disciplinary, theory-practice digital art installation to capture citizens’ inadvertent data flows from their smart devices. It exhibited at FACT, Liverpool.

- 2010: AHRC Research Leave. An analysis of Strategic Political Communication, Sousveillance and Web 2.0 in Convergence Cultures: Iraq, USA & UK 2003-09.  £21,000. Principle Investigator. Project graded ‘outstanding’ by AHRC.

2008. University of Glamorgan, Centre for Excellence in Learning & Teaching. Theory-Practice: Imagined Communities in Film-making. £5,000 (with Inga Burrows). I developed innovative, inter-disciplinary teaching across film and media theory and practice. I worked with film-making practitioner, Inga Burrows, to inculcate practice-based media/film students to use theory on imagined communities and nationhood in making their film. Theory-based media students participated, so encouraging them to better understand the theory themselves.

- 2008: University of Glamorgan International Research Investment Strategy: Media and Scientific Risk. £1,000. This enabled me to convene a panel at Univ. of Helsinki.

- 2007: Higher Education Funding Council for Wales £8,000. (PI: David Barlow). This extended my research on trust, risk and media:

Research Publications:


  • Bakir, preparation/2018. Intelligence Elites and Public Accountability: Relationships of Influence with Civil Society. Routledge. (113,000 words.)
    • Systematically examining relationships of influence between civil society and political-intelligence elites, I examine whether civil society can adequately hold the elites to account. I analyse two case studies of global political significance: contemporary mass surveillance as revealed by whistle-blower Edward Snowden, and Bush-era torture-intelligence policies.
  • Bakir, V. 2013. Torture, Intelligence and Sousveillance in the War on Terror: Agenda–Building Struggles. Farnham: Ashgate.  (Reprinted by Routledge, 2016.) (140,000 words.)
    • I examine the role of the third estate (government and military inquiries), the fourth estate (investigative and mainstream journalism), and the fifth estate (NGOs and ordinary citizens) in exposing the secretive torture-intelligence policies of the Bush and Blair administrations post 9/11. This exposes political administrations’ communication strategies of secrecy, silencing and misdirection.
  • Bakir, V. 2010. Sousveillance, Media and Strategic Political Communication: Iraq, USA, UK. New York: Bloomsbury. (95,000 words.)
    • I examine the interplay between mainstream press (US, UK, Iraq), emergent web-based participatory media, and political communication across 2002-08, focusing on the run-up to the 2003 Iraq War and its aftermath. I focus on ‘sousveillance’ (watching the watchers, and peer-to-peer watching) and strategic political communication, examining how, across seven years, emergent web-based participatory media shapes, and responds to, different media, press and political environments across two western and one eastern country, encompassing war, regime change, democratization and nation-building.

Edited Books

  • Bakir, V., Miller, D, Robinson, P. and Simpson, C. (eds.) in preparation, 2018. Deception, Coercion and Propaganda: The Sociology of Organised Persuasive Communication. Brill.
  • Bakir, V. & D.Barlow, (eds.) 2007. Communication in the Age of Suspicion: Trust and the Media. Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan.

Special Issues of Journals (Guest Editor)

Refereed Journal Articles

Book Chapters

  • Bakir, V., Herring, E., Miller, D. & Robinson, P. in press 2018. Lying and Deception in Politics. The Oxford Handbook of Politics and Lying. Meibauer, J. (ed.) Oxford Univ. Press.
  • Bakir, V. et al in press 2017. Afterword. InS.Flynn and A.Mackay (eds.) Spaces of Surveillance: States and Selves. Palgrave-Macmillan.
  • Bakir, V. & A. McStay. 2008.  When the Script runs out … what happens to The Polarised War Body? Deconstructing Western 24/7 News Coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom 2003. In K. Randell  & S. Redmond (eds.) The War Body on Screen. New York: Continuum
  • Bakir, V. 2007. Risk Communication, TV News and Trust Generation: The Utility of Ethos.” In Bakir, V. & D.Barlow, (eds.) 2007. Communication in the Age of Suspicion: Trust and the Media. Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan, pp.127-140.
  • Bakir, V. 1996. An Identity for Europe? The role of the media.In M.Wintle (ed.) Culture and Identity in Europe. Aldershot: Avebury. 

Encyclopedia entries

  • The SAGE Encyclopedia of War. 2017. Definitive contributions (4000 words each) on: (a) Abu Ghraib, (b) Torture, (c) Embedded Reporters, (d) Deception & Disinformation.
  • The SAGE Encyclopedia of Surveillance. In press 2017/18. Definitive contribution on Sousveillance.

Book Reviews

  • Bakir, V. 2015. Review of Emma L. Briant Propaganda and Counter-terrorism: strategies for global change. In Spinwatch. Apr 2015.
  • Bakir, V. 2014. Review of Jacques Rancière, The Emancipated Spectator. London: Verso (2011 [2008]) and Rod Stoneman Chávez: The Revolution Will not be Televised: A Case Study of Politics and the Media. London: Wallflower Press (2008). In Working USA: the Journal of Labour and Society.
  • Bakir, V. 2012. Review of Tarik Sabry, Cultural Encounters in the Arab World: On the Media, the Modern and the Everyday (2010). In European Journal of Cultural Studies 15: 547-8.
  • Bakir, V. 2010. Review of Donald Matheson and Stuart Allan. Digital War Reporting. Cambridge: Polity (2009). In Digital Icons, November.
  • Bakir, V. 2008. Review of James Harkin, Big Ideas: The Essential Guide to the Latest Thinking, Atlantic Books (2008). In Times Higher Education. 28 February.
  • Bakir, V. 1999. Review of Christopher Harper. And That's the Way It Will Be: News and Information in a Digital World. New York University Press (1998). In Resource Centre for Cybercultural Studies. July.

Significant Conference/Symposia Papers Presented

  • Bakir, V. and McStay, A. Invited speakers. Post-Snowden Transparency Arrangements: the Veillant Panoptic Assemblage and Emotiveillance. Security Research Group. Aberystwyth Univ. May 2017
  • Bakir, V. Surveillance, Intelligence Agencies, Persuasion, Influence and Accountability: Problematic Silences in Civil Society. International Communication Association conference ‘Communicating With Power’, Fukuoka, Japan, 9-13 June 2016 (panel on Surveillance and Citizenship)
  • Bakir, V. Cohering Inter-disciplinary Responses and Rebuilding the Agenda. DATA-PSST! Bangor Univ. May 2016.
  • Bakir, V. Tackling Transparency Beyond the Nation-State. DATA-PSST! Cardiff Univ. Mar 2016.
  • Bakir V, & A. McStay. Invited speakers. Veillant Media: the Veillant Panoptic Assemblage and Emotiveillance. Dept. of Computing and Engineering. Univ. of Toronto. Toronto, ON, Canada. Mar 2016.
  • Bakir V. Invited speaker Intelligence agencies, media, secrecy, propaganda and surveillance.  Leeds University Media and Communications Group. Nov. 2015.
  • Bakir, V. 2015. The Veillant Panoptic Assemblage: Critically Interrogating Power, Resistance and Intelligence Accountability through a Case Study of the Snowden Leaks. Data Power. Univ. of Sheffield. 22-23 June 2015.
  • Bakir, V. & A.McStay. 2015. Invited speakers. Debating and Assessing Transparency Arrangements: Privacy, Security, Surveillance, Trust (DATA-PSST!): evaluating perspectives on surveillance in the post-Snowden leak era.  Surveillance and Citizenship State-Media-Citizen Relations After the Snowden Leaks. Cardiff Univ., UK. 18-19 June 2015
  • Bakir, V. 2015. Intelligence Agencies, Public Oversight Mechanisms and Accountability Demands: The Torture-Intelligence Policy and the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Executive Summary (2014). Understanding Conflict: Research, ideas and responses to security threats. Univ. of Bath 8 – 11 June 2015.
  • Bakir, V. et al 2015. Organised Persuasive Communication: Coercion and Deception. Understanding Conflict: Research, ideas and responses to security threats. Univ. of Bath 8 – 11 June 2015.
  • Bakir, V. 2015. Invited speaker: Deceptive Organised Persuasive Communication: From Misdirection to Secretly Altering Reality to Fit the Lie you want to Tell. Politics & Practices of Secrecy. Kings College, London. 14-15 May
  • Bakir, V. 2015. In a Veillance Society, can we resist dataveillance of our selves? Transparency Today. For DATA-PSST ESRC Seminar series (30 participants: 27 academics, 3 end users, 1 day). Bangor Univ., 6 January 2015.
  • Bakir, V. 2015. Too much secrecy and lies … again. Technical and Ethical Limits of Privacy & Secrecy. For DATA-PSST ESRC Seminar series (40 participants: 35 academics, 5 end users, 1 day). Sheffield Univ., 24 March 2015.
  • Bakir, V. & McStay, A. Forced Transparency or Equivellant Transparency, post-Snowden (or who is challenging the state’s surveillance agenda of radical transparency?), Brunel Univ., July 10, 2015.
  • Bakir, V.  2014. Misdirection as Propaganda: We Don’t Torture! Political Studies Association Media and Politics Group Annual Conference. Theme: Media, Persuasion and Human Rights. Bangor Univ. 10-11 November 2014.
  • Bakir, V. Invited speaker. Agenda-building struggles in the War on Terror:  Secrecy, Silences and Persuasive Misdirection. Research Symposium on Spooks and Hacks. London South Bank University. Apr. 2014.
  • Bakir, V. Agenda-building struggles in the War on Terror: Strategies and Enunciative Modalities  Regarding Secrecy, Silences and Persuasive Misdirection, Media and Politics Group Annual Conference, Political Studies Association. Bournemouth University. Nov. 2013.
  • Bakir, V., McStay, A. & Feilzer, M. PSST! Privacy, Security, Surveillance and Trust: developing an inter-disciplinary response to forced transparency. Media & Persuasive Communication inter-disciplinary seminar. Nov 2013.
  • Bakir, V. Invited speaker.  Researching secretive agenda-building on national security issues: some reflections from studying the torture-intelligence nexus (2001-12). Media & Politics Group, Liverpool University, Oct 2013.
  • Discussant at NGO symposium, Shouting in the Wind – Human Rights Days and Public Impacts, at Liverpool University. Sent Key Findings of my talk on Raising Public Awareness of the Refugee Problem: the end of Shouting, Guilt, Viscerality, Passivity and Difference, toLeigh Foster, UNHCR. June (2013).
  • Bakir, V. Sousveillance and Agenda-Building: the end of Privacy, the end of Secrecy? Bangor-Aberystwyth Symposium on Privacy (National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth). May (2013).
  • Bakir, V. Torture-for-Intelligence in the War on Terror: Agenda–Building Struggles. Media, War & Conflict Conference. Royal Holloway, University of London, UK. April 11-12 (2013).
  • Bakir, V.  Torture-Intelligence, Sousveillance and Agenda Building: the Case of the Daily Mirror. SCSM Transformations Research Seminar. Bangor University (2011).
  • Bakir, V. Torture & Intelligence in the War on Terror: The Struggle over Strategic Political Communication. Global Media and the 'War on Terror': An International Conference. Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI) of the University of Westminster, London, in collaboration with the Department of Media and Communications, Goldsmiths, University of London, London, 13-14 September (2010).
  • Bakir, V. Establishing a regime of care: Salam Pax, the Baghdad Blogger. Reporting War: Exploring the Way Forward Symposium. Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, UK. June (2010).
  • Bakir, V. Sousveillance, Emergent Participatory Media & Strategic Political Communication: Iraq, UK & USA. Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association Conference. London School of Economics and Political Science, London UK, 6 – 8 January (2010). Conference paper published online as: Sousveillance, Emergent Participatory Media & Strategic Political Communication: Iraq, UK & USA.
  • Bakir, V. Invited speaker. Media Risk Research: Old and New Directions, Colloquium on Media and Risk: Challenges facing Researchers, University of Plymouth, UK, Jan. (2008).
  • Bakir, V. A.McStay & M.Longley, Communicating Health Risks: Generating Research Agendas through a Citizens’ Jury on Preventative Medicine, 5th Interdisciplinary Conference on Communication, Medicine & Ethics, University of Lugano, Lugano, Switzerland, Jun. (2007).
  • Bakir, V. The Precautionary Principle, TV News and Pressure Group Activity in constructing Ethos. Conference on Communication in the Age of Suspicion, Bournemouth University, UK (2004).

Consultancy & Review Work

Collaborative Networks:

Editorial positions:

HEI consultancies:

  • Austrian Science Fund (Erwin Schrödinger Fellowship) Reviewer (2016)
  • ESRC Member of Peer Review Panel (2015-)
  • AHRC Seminar Series Reviewer (2015)
  • External consultant for Univ. of Liverpool, validation of MA in Media and Communication (2015)
  • External Examiner for Brunel Univ. BA (Hons) Journalism (2015-)
  • External consultant for Brunel Univ., revalidation of BA (Hons) Journalism (2015)
  • Expert Panel Member For Norwegian Societal Security SAMRISK II, The Research Council of Norway (2013)
  • External Examiner for MA in Irish Media Studies, and BA Media Studies, Department of Media & Communication Studies, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, Ireland. (2008-12)
  • External Assessor for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Canada (2006)

External Examining for PhD vivas

  • Prof. Heather Brooke, City University. (PhD by Publication): Citizen or Subject? Freedom of Information and the Informed Citizen in a Democracy (2016)
  • Roy Revie, University of Bath: Controlling the “information environment”: Developments in U.S. military intelligence and communication in the age of Web 2.0. (2015)
  • Mark Pope, Royal Holloway, University of London. Risk-cosmopolitanism: How the UK Government and news media structure the order of security discourse to impede challenges on torture and abuse (2014)

Refereeing academic publications

  • I peer review nascent journal articles, book proposals and draft books from a wide range of journals (e.g. International Journal of Press/Politics, Big Data and Society, Journal of Communication, Media and Communication, Mass Communication and Society, Media, War & Conflict, Digital Journalism, Journalism Practice, Policy and Internet, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Subjectivity, Politics, Cultural Politics, Social Semiotics, Open Political Science, Irish Journal of Sociology, Electronic Journal of Communication, Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society), academic publishers (e.g. Routledge, Palgrave-Macmillan, Informing Science Press), and subject associations (eg International Communication Association, Political Studies Association Media and Politics Group).